2012 Cervelo P5 First Look Review
article by Nick Salazar
images by Cervelo
Jan 17, 2012  hits 118,959

It's here, and it's awesome. This is the Cervelo P5.

Cervelo has just launched its new triathlon bike platform, the P5. The bike, in a word, is magnificent. Anyone who threw stones at Cervelo for trailing in recent years has been silenced. The P5 is now, in my opinion, the very best tri bike out there, bar none.

Let me back up. Cervelo has long been a brand known for engineering prowess, innovative thinking, and no-nonsense bicycle design. When they say something is aero, they have mountains of data to back it up. When they decline to follow a design trend, it's because those same mountains of data said it wasn't worth the effort. In the last five years, we've seen the company move from the P3 Carbon, the quintessential tri bike, to the P4, arguably an iterative step, and finally arrive here, at the P5. This bike is no mere iteration of its predecessors. It's a complete re-working of every idea Cervelo has ever had, combined with a whole heap of features we've never seen before from this brand.

In creating the P5 as a main bike with swappable front-end components, Cervelo is bucking two competing industry trends of either selling different types of bikes with the same name (Trek's Speed Concept lineup, Specialized's multiple Shiv models), or selling basically the same bike with different components, and calling them different models (like the Felt DA). Instead, Cervelo has created a truly modular system, where the core of each entry in the lineup is the same, but the high-end parts can be retrofitted to any bike in the series.

That means that if you buy the lowest-end P5, you later upgrade it to the highest-end version, keeping your core frame and the rest of your bike. Ultimately, what Cervelo did was to create the fastest bike they could imagine within the UCI rules, and then created a brand new front end that chucks the rulebook, transforming the UCI-legal bike into a tri-specific powerhouse.

Before we begin, the questions that are on everyone's mind: when, and how much? The bike will be available in March, with four configurations:

  • Frameset + UCI fork + Tektro rear brake: $4,500
  • Frameset + Tri-specific fork + Aduro aerobars + Magura brakes: $6,500
  • Complete bike (UCI fork) w/ Dura Ace mechanical and Magura brakes: $6,000
  • Complete bike (Tri-specific fork) w/ Di2, Aduro aerobars, and Magura brakes: $10,000

I'll start by talking about the most integrated version of the P5, and work backwards from there. Hit the jump and we'll begin with that gorgeous front end.

So let's dive right in and talk about this thing from top to bottom.

Tags » cervelo,  frames,  p5bike
  • This is the Cervelo P5 in its triathlon form - believe it or not, the only UCI-illegal component here is the fork.
  • As integrated as it looks, the Cervelo P5 is surprisingly easy to wrench.
  • From tip to tail, Cervelo has created a stunning machine. Here you can see a couple of the truncated airfoils just below the seat clamp, and at the bottle bosses on the down tube.
  • Pictured here is the tri fork, hiding the Magura hydraulic brake.  The same brake can be ridden on a standard fork as well.
  • The new Aduro aerobar is a highlight of the P5. It integrates seamlessly with the bike, and has excellent adjustment options.  It will accept standard extensions from most any brand.
  • The v-shaped aerobar risers are gorgeous, and make the bar look like a one-piece solution no matter what stack you choose.
  • Multiple v-shaped risers allow you to hit your stack number and still have a bike that looks custom-built just for you.
  • This tall riser represents a very elegant way for high-stack riders to hit their position.
  • A couple spots on this machine feature truncated kammtail profiles, such as the back of the seat tube, and the downtube at the water bottle bosses.
  • The hydraulic rear brake is also faired, and this shot also shows the bottom bracket cable guide that assists in bike building.
  • The High-V pad risers allow you to gain additional stack while keeping the bike super aero.  Cervelo says that the Low and High-V positions actually have the exactly same amount of aero drag.
  • This is the subtle difference between the Low and X-Low aerobar positions. The X-Lo slings the extenions under the bar, mounting the cups right on top for an extra 20mm of lower stack.

Related Articles
In a previous article, we went over every aspect of the bare P5 frame in detail. Now we take you through building it up.
We're building up a project P5, but before the components go on, we're taking a thorough look at this smart new frame.
The official reveal is tomorrow. But today, we saw a Cervelo P5X riding down the Queen K, and grabbed a few spy shots before it sped by.
Here's a thorough survey of the top bikes in the industry, and all their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Although Kona is not a desert, you can still see a mirage on occasion. We spotted several athletes on the Queen K who made us do a double-take.

comments powered by Disqus